Writing

On music

Music is a big part of my life, although it’s a bit of a sticking point with me at the moment. In the 90’s, a time when I was probably doing the most of my growing and going to university, music was a huge part of my life. It helped define me I think. I spend more of my music time now lamenting how nothing urban matches up with the 90s.

One of the things about B-Boy Blues, a book by James Earl Hardy was the fact that here was a bunch of colored gay characters doing every day things that I did. Including listening to the music I did at the time.

Music is just as big a part of my novel Street Dreams as well, something I was very conscious about when writing. Tyson was growing up like I was growing up. Dealing with his sexuality but also aware of the music of the period around him. It serves as a soundtrack to ones life, putting memories on a timeline.

I’m busy putting together a list of all the tracks that Tyson listened to over the length of the book. It’s an interesting exercise. I’m also rather acutely aware of the fact that if I go back to Tyson I have to face the question of what he’s listening to these days. Like the fact urban music today isn’t up to the scratch of 90’s music, local hip hop is almost non existant next to the music of Tyson’s life during Street Dreams. That’s a question I’ll have to face if I go back to him. It’s one that might have an interesting answer.

The age of music is something that I’m probably becoming more acutely aware of as I get older. I was listening to the radio today and while the Game was rapping about it never raining in Southern California, I instantly thought of Albert Hammond before I thought of Tony! Toni! Tone!. The earlier of those two tracks is probably older than I am.

During his darkest time in Street Dreams Tyson was listening to Nina Simone¬†(the original, rather than the version that turned up on the Kill Bill soundtrack, which has it’s own kick ass charms), one of two tracks that weren’t New Zealand related. Like where Tyson was dipping into his fathers collection, I’m rather aware of the music of my parents generation, which I grew up with as well. At the same time, I’m disarmed with the age of it. ELO released this track when I was 1.

Urban music recently at least hasn’t left me with many defining memories or impressions as the music of Tyson’s time (early 00’s local hip hop) growing up, or my own (90’s urban). I wonder if in 20 or 30 years I’ll look back and wonder at the music of the period as much as I do with those of my past. By then, the music I remember from my childhood will be pushing way passed half a decade old.

Back to writing. Which at the moment is a fairly silent affair.

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